Dubai, despite my previous minor misgivings, is amazing. Last night we went on a desert safari which, like I mentioned in the last post, involved Wadibashing (see Google for more information), camel riding (!), belly dancing shows, and a big BBQ dinner that was Dubai style rather than NZ style - no sausages, but there was kofta and kebabs and all sorts of yummy stuff.
Wadibashing was both terrifying and awesome. Basically, you're in a land rover type jeep thing, and a driver (ours was Pakistani, but they can be from anywhere deserty I think) drives like a maniac over the sand dunes in the middle of the desert. It was so cool, but there were several moments where I was so sure that the car was going to roll! I took a video while we were going, but it really doesn't capture it at all. After about half an hour of that, we were dropped off at a 'Bedouin camp' which was so not Bedouin at all, and we got to ride a camel! Granted, we were lead around the parking lot area, but it was sandy and it was sunset and we could see only red sand as far as the horizon, and it was really lovely. Our camel was a bit of a numpty and didn't aprieciate being ridden I don't think because he was very verbal, but still pretty cracking.
After that we went inside the walls of the camp and there on the left was a whole lot of couches with hookah pipes set up in front! So exciting. I'd never ever tried it before (I only learned what a hookah pipe was about a month before I left home for Europe) but it was surprisingly easy and nice and tasted like apples. Later on in the evening there was a belly dancer, dinner, and what they call a whirling dervish, which is a guy in an intense skirt who spins around literally for about ten minutes. It may not sound like much, but it's amazig to see them do routines while spinning very fast and then stop and not be dizzy at all!
Today we took the metro out to the Mall of the Emirates which is HUGE and I think has about 1200 shops, as well as an indoor skifield. It was insane! We didn't really buy much except for lots of books because tomorrow we're catching a bus to Oman, which will take us almost six hours! After that we went to a beach which you pay for (only about $2 though) and basically just spend the afternoon snoozing on the sand. We weren't even wearig sunscreen and it's pretty warm here (abuot the same as Wellington I think), but even in three-ish hours we didn't gt burned. Just goes to show how harsh the NZ sun really is!
We found a Coldstone Icecreamery just aruond the corner from our hotel, so we're off to get icecream for dinner now. Hope everyone is enjoying the sun and having lovely holidays (for those of you at school).